May 2002

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I am one of those fortunate people who have never had a real weight problem. Sure, after the birth of each of my three children, I had 10-20 extra pounds to lose. However, this was no real problem. I never really dieted to lose it. After a few months or so, I got close to my pre-pregnancy weight, and that was the end of it. I was okay with my weight and dress size.

However, the word “exercise” was not in my vocabulary. With three children, how could I possibly have time to exercise? My husband, who is almost a fanatic about exercise, was constantly telling me, “You would have more energy and feel better if you would get some exercise.” I would give him that “look” and think, “Yea, right. You stay home and keep the kids, while I go to the gym or the track. I’ll be home in 2 hours!” For years, this was the scene at my house.

About 4 years ago, we had a new youth director join our church staff, and guess what? His wife is a First Place leader. When she offered a discipleship training class entitled “First Place”, I thought, “This is during discipleship training time on Sunday nights; it won’t interfere with my schedule.” I decided to try the class.

I was a little intimidated by some who asked me, “Why are you in this class? You sure don’t need to lose weight.” In fact, I almost didn’t go back. I explained to the group that I wanted to learn to eat healthy, not only for myself, but for my family as well.

I also desired the Bible study that went along with the First Place Class. Boy, am I ever thankful that I didn’t give it up. It truly changed my life and that of my family. Healthy eating and family exercise have become part of our daily life. The whole family has run in several 5K races in our community. Our local newspaper even included our picture one week after all of us competed in a race. Occasionally, our schedules allow my husband and I to go the gym together. This is always a fun time for us as a couple.

God has blessed us with a wonderful rural home and 12 acres of land. We have our very own personal “cross country” track. We discovered that two laps around our pasture is exactly one-quarter of a mile. This is where we run, except after rain. By running at home, we don’t have to worry about what to do with the children. They usually ride their bikes or just play outside while we are running. When it is too wet, we head to the gym. I have more energy than I have ever had in my life. Most days I can hardly wait to get up and get going on all the things that must be done in a day.

I am so thankful for the difference First Place made in our lives. I can truly testify that God will change your desires, habits, and lifestyle if you will only let Him.

Melanie Myrick
Kosciusko, Mississippi
Melanie Myrick & Family

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I started the First Place program 6 weeks ago but I wanted to let you know what a difference this program has made in my life. I have lost only six pounds, but I have developed a relationship with God that is a much deeper level than before First Place. I have been spending time daily in God’s word and taking the time to have quiet time and do my bible study in the morning before I start my day. It has made such a difference in my life. I am starting this program in my church in a few weeks and I pray that it will make a difference in the lives of my church family. Thank you for letting me share how this has been working in my life.

Sharon Fitch
Great Commission Baptist Church
Olive Branch, Mississippi

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My name is Rosemary Woolston and I live in Bundaberg, Queensland, Australia. I saw First Place advertised in a Koorong Bookshop catalogue, I prayed about it and approached other ladies in my church that I thought would be interested in the program. After consideration and an orientation night, we decided to give it a go. There are three members, myself, Beryl and Lynne. Originally, there was to be four, however, one lady, Judy, (our Pastor’s wife) who has a very young baby, decided to wait until the next program to participate.

We bought the kits and a leader’s kit and couldn’t wait to launch the program; however, we had a few delays. Beryl went on two weeks holiday, and my mother passed away on March 24, and then came Easter. After several weeks of delay, I realized Satan was putting various barriers before us, and having the victory, so we decided to get started. Our very first meeting was held on April 4th in my home. The next week we met in Beryl’s home and this week we will be meeting in Lynne’s home.

Our first week, we lost a total of 2.9 kilograms. ‘Oops’, I forgot, you don’t have kilograms but pounds and stones. One kilo is equivalent to 2.2 pounds; therefore, we lost a total of nearly seven pounds between us. We were all very excited at the weight loss, but we also have come to realize that there are many other benefits that far outweigh losing weight.

We are all enjoying the Bible study so much, as well as the prayer journal; all of the aspects of the program are excellent! Initially, our desire to lose weight took first place in our lives; however, after just one week of doing First Place, we realize that giving Christ first place in our lives is far more important and the weight loss is second place, an added extra. Praise the Lord!

My pastor asked me to share with the rest of my church family just what First Place is and how much we are enjoying it, so I did. We now have our whole church support. I also compile the weekly Church Bulletin / newsletter and have decided to include the memory verse each week so others can also be learning to memorize God’s word. Every one is excited about the program and eagerly awaiting to see the results. I believe you are coming to Australia later this year? Is this to encourage Aussies to participate in First Place? If so, will you be converting the program to suit Australians? By this, I mean the food. I would love to be able to meet you when you are here. Our group will have completed the first 13 weeks of the program by then. We already have people wanting to join the next group.

Our church is small in number, about 40, and we can see that First Place can definitely be used as an outreach tool. We enjoy receiving the E-newsletter. Would you please send greetings from us ‘down under’ in your next edition? It is so encouraging to know that there are other people praying for you, even if they are half way across the other side of the world. Do you know if there are any other groups meeting in Australia? If so, where are they? If you don’t mind I would like to keep you informed of our weekly progress? Looking forward to hearing from you and perhaps meeting you later in the year. Your friend in Christ!

Rose Woolston
Bundaberg, Queensland, Australia